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Category Archives: Self-Publishing

7 Book Layout Errors You Will Want to Avoid

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Joel Friedlander wrote a great article “7 Formatting Errors That Make Your Book Look Unprofessional”, helping self-publishing authors to get to know the in- and outs of book layout. This is not the only useful post, a whole cornucopia of advice for authors who want to create print books can be found on www.TheBookDesigner.com, Joel’s website.  He asks: “Although our books may be self-published, we sure don’t want them to look sub-par, do we?”

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Books Should Look Like from Traditional Publishers

Writers certainly try to launch their books without the long delays or the uncertainty if they get a traditional publisher contract. The best way to have a great book layout is through a professional.  However, some authors don’t want to use a book lay-outer, or don’t want to fork out the costs involved.  Another way to solve a lot of these print book formatting problems while also getting a well-designed, industry-standard book, is to use a book template.  Joel Friedlander created this fantastic solution. Find out more and see the available designs at: BookDesignTemplates.com.

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More and more writers are taking advantage of the new tools of Print-on-Demand and create and publish their own books.  Authors becoming “do-it-yourself” book lay-outers need to avoid an amateurish look of their books.
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Joel Friedlanders List of Errors to Avoid
“Some of the errors I see when reviewing self-published books are very easy to correct, if you only know how:”

  1. Putting page numbers on blank pages.
    Blank pages have no text or images on them, and that means they should be truly blank.
  2. Using running heads on chapter opening pages or blank pages.
    Just like page numbers, running heads (the type at the top of a page that shows the book title, author name, or chapter title) have no place on a blank page, just leave them off so the pages are truly blank.
  3. Using “rag-right” typesetting.
    This means that the left and right margins of your page are straight and all lines except the last line in a paragraph are all the same length. This is what your readers expect to see in your book, so make sure you give it to them.
  4. Double spacing between sentences.
    Only one space between sentences.
  5. Using both indented AND block style spaces between paragraphs.
    If you add spaces between your paragraphs, make sure you don’t also indent the first line.
  6. Putting the odd numbered pages on the left.
    When you open a book, it just makes sense that the first page is page number 1, and that has to be a right-hand page. This rule is absolute, and you should never, ever number your pages with even numbers on right-hand pages.
  7. Making super small margins to save pages.
    CreateSpace and other print-on-demand services charge based on number of pages. But that’s no reason to shortchange your readers by making your page margins too small just to save money. Small margins will make your book hard to hold and difficult to read, never a good result.

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He adds: “Paying attention to these details of book formatting will help ensure that your books look and work the way they are supposed to. Your readers will thank you for that, and it’s your readers you should keep in mind throughout the publishing process.”

My advice:  Just visit a bookstore and browse through traditional book titles, or check out the first pages of Amazon print books and you will likely not find any of these seven errors listed by Joel Friedlander. Making it right from the beginning will save you an amazing amount of time and frustration, and your reputation as a self-publisher.
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Understanding Fonts & Typography
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/understanding-fonts-typography/

Understanding Book Layouts and Page Margins
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/08/book-layouts-page-margins/

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,100 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Taxes for non-US Self-Publishers

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Tax-Deductions
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Nothing in the world is so certain as death and taxes.  Even if it is not tax time, let’s talk about taxes: Self-publishing an e-book on the biggest online retailer in the world is very easy, but it does not mean you can ignore the taxes.  IRS rules mean that tax monies for your revenues withheld will only be available for refund through the IRS and not refunded automatically by KDP and CreateSpace, as they have been up in the past.  Amazon will remind you… They will send you a form to fill out.  If not, here is the way to go:

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Amazon and other retailers are required by law to withhold 30% of the royalties earned by non-US authors until they settle their tax status.
The commonly accepted method was going through the laborious process of getting an International Tax Identification Number (ITIN), which requires form-filling, notarized copies of passports, embassy trips, fees, and inexplicable rejection.  Self-publishers might be able to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead, which will also do the trick.
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Applies Only to Independent Authors:
Are you publishing through their own company outside the US? Also the IRS doesn’t appear to ask for proof that you have actually established your own publishing company, there are all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t commence this process until you actually have.

  • Call the IRS (tax authorities) at 1-267-941-1099
  • This is a direct line to the dedicated unit in Philadelphia that deals with foreign entities (you) who need an EIN.
    Explain them you are applying for an EIN for a foreign entity.
  • Tell them you are a sole proprietor, and the owner of the business.
  • They will ask for your name, mailing address, phone number, the name of your company, and the country it was incorporated. This will involve a lot of spelling and repetition, but make sure all the details are correct.
  • You will be asked if this is for compliance with withholding taxes and if it is for e-books.
  • After confirming all your details, you will receive your EIN (Employer Identification Number) right away. Write your EIN down on paper and also save it on your computer.
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Submitting the W8-BEN
If you follow these steps, you will save yourself time, money, and a whole load of heartache. All you have left to do is fill out the W8-BEN form. Download the W8-BEN form from the IRS’ website, and print it out.

IMPORTANT:
You will need one copy each for Amazon KDP, CreateSpace etc and/or other retailers.
Don’t abbreviate your country, write it out in full

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Part I (fill out everything in blue ink)

  • Your full legal name.
  • The country you live in/pay taxes.
  • Type of beneficial owner: Check the box that says Individual (unless you are an LLP for example).
  • Your physical address / street address.
  • Your mailing address.
  • Select the EIN box, and fill your number in
  • Your foreign tax number (i.e. your tax number in your country of residence
  • Fill in your KDP Publisher No. (in Account Settings, bottom right)

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Part II

  • Write your country in the line provided
  • Tick the box and fill in your EIN.
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Skip Part III

At the final section – explain the reasons – write “beneficial owner is a resident of (fill in your country)”
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Part IV

  • Sign your name, date it, and write Self at Capacity.
  • Send the original! W8-BEN – not a photocopy! – to every company, that sells your book or that you have published with
  • Add a simple cover letter stating you attach the W8-BEN for compliance with withholding. It takes them a few weeks to process, but within a month or so, they should stop withholding your royalties.

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Conclusion:
Don’t delay to apply for an EIN. It means only a phone call to get an EIN. Best way to do this is before you launch your book. Once you have done it, you will feel relieved – and you will receive 30% more book revenue from your online retailer.

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More info:  http://www.irs.gov/
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/International-Businesses/U.S.-Withholding-Agent-Frequently-Asked-Question

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $179 for 3 months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,100 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Who are Your Readers – and Your Competition?

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study-your-competition

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Authors often do very little research to really understand who their potential audience is – or could be.  Asking them: “Who is your audience and who is your competition?” one might receive only vague answers …  However, these are essential questions that are not only very important for self-publishers, but also for authors who want to go with a traditional publisher!  They need to proof to the agent or the publisher that they have done their homework.
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How Can You Research Your Competition?
First of all make a long list with possible keywords that readers might use to find a similar book.
Check out the complete categories / genres at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony, Google Books, Waterstones etc. and study all the books, that could be akin to your future work. Visit several public libraries to learn about your competition. Borrow the most interesting ones, not only to read them, but also to study the book layout and design. Read the online reviews of their books carefully!

  • How many books of this topic / with the same keywords have been published already?
  • Where are these books sold and for which price?
  • In which format are they offered: e-book, print, audio-book?
  • Who are the customers of these competing books?
  • How are these books received and which ones are bestselling?
  • Which categories did they choose, and which keywords?
  • In which categories / genres are these competitive books listed?
  • What cover designs have been chosen for these books?
  • Which author represent him/herself and their book the best – via their Amazon and Goodreads author page, and on their website or blog?.
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Don’t Give Up!
Bestseller authors often need years and years to build up their audience, so it is surprising, that authors dream of their first book as a potential bestseller, and don’t realize that it takes a long time and hard work to get an audience, one reader at a time – especially if they did not do the ground work to build a huge following at Social Media, in reader forums or in real-life before they start publishing.

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Author-Publishing is Like a Completely New Profession
And professions need to be learned! It takes years to become an excellent writer and it also takes years to become an excellent publisher. It involves lots of skills and knowledge business-wise, marketing skills, not to mention, learning constantly new internet techniques and get to know the latest changes in publishing. Many authors have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the time required for effective book promotion and to make meaningful connections with readers. They expect wonders from a single sales campaign.
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Take Advantage of their Knowledge
A book marketing professional has to learn years and years. Why, as an author, not take advantage of their knowledge to keep your head free for writing and interacting with your readers? No one would start an accounting business without learning the ropes, and knowing how to create a revenue / expenses sheet or fill out income tax forms. Writing a book does not make for a publisher, no matter how clever businesses want you to imagine. Take the time to build your author platform and establish a brand, it will eventually give you an advantage in the market.

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,100 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Your Books First and Maybe Only Impression

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Book-Cover

First Impression: A great cover!

REMEMBER:  You never get a second chance for a first good impression!  Your books’ title and its appearance is the first, and perhaps only impression you make on a prospective reader.  A great image on your book cover will undoubtedly catch your reader’s imagination, wondering what lies beyond it. A fantastic opportunity to draw readers in.
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Not that an appealing cover means automatically a great book, but a book that is accurately and even interestingly represented by its cover, is more likely to catch the eye of someone who is going to enjoy reading it.  Interesting covers are going to get more time on shelf-displays, online and off-line.  We are a visual culture; naturally that is going to influence our book-buying habits.
A stunning book cover is one of the best marketing tools for any writer!
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Bali Rai wrote in one of his blogs:  ”In 2002, as one of the judges on the Guardian’s Teenage prize, I remember a book called Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett.  It’s a simple yet wonderful story of 1930′s Depression-era Australia, and it went on to win the award. However, it was not my choice for winner, simply because I thought the cover illustration would deter people from reading it. It was drab and old-fashioned in my opinion and had I not been reading and judging the book, it would have put me off completely.”
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Here are some points you should discuss with your designer.

  • Use bold or complementary colors
  • Use light on dark for dramatic effects (if it fits to your book content)
  • Test the cover in thumbnail size to make sure it looks good at Amazon’s website
  • Use not more than different two fonts in total
  • Use not too wide vertical spaces between lines of text
  • Use few shadow, bevel, gradient or glow – keep it subtle
  • Align the cover text – centre, left or right
  • Place text on plain background to stand out
  • Use the same fonts for all your books and readers will be able to identify them easily
  • People read left to right, top to bottom. Position your elements in appropriate levels of importance.
  • Never, ever, use a white background for your book! White on white is barely visible and on websites your book will not stick out, as the sites’ background are almost always white.

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E-books are bought online, usually displayed on a page with many other books. Therefore clarity, simplicity, brightness and information must jump off the screen.  A simple and arresting graphic element and bold clear text for the title and the authors’ name must be easy to read on the tiny online image.
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A book that is brilliantly written, but lacks a good quality cover design will remain unnoticed and undiscovered.  It is absolutely crucial to have a book cover that grabs the attention of readers and book buyers and shows the heart and the soul of the book in one single image

Read more:

Lousy Book Covers
http://lousybookcovers.tumblr.com/

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“23 Creative Book Cover Designs and their Story” is a showcase of creative book cover designs, indicating the typefaces used for the title or text:
http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/inspiration/creative-book-cover-story
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Joel Friedlander wrote a great blog about brilliant book titles in one of his blogs:
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/06/how-to-write-book-titles-for-people-robotsJoel
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“40 Extraordinary Photoshop Text Effects” shows detailed tutorials, how to create amazing book title effects, step by step and using lots of screen shots.
http://www.problogdesign.com/resources/40-extraordinary-photoshop-text-effects

Fonts for book titles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typeface
http://www.dafont.com/themes.php
http://www.1001freefonts.com
http://www.identifont.com

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,070 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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How to Get Your Book into Stores

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Books a Million

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Getting your self-published book into stores is one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to author- publishing, compared to how easy it is to get your print book into Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Apple. And then there are discounts, returns and commissions… not to speak of waiting times till your invoice is paid. Book distributors & wholesalers will take care of all this – for a price.
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POD print and distribution
For small amounts of print books, say less than 2,000 books, an author is better off to have it “printed on demand”, done by CreateSpace or by LightningSource, who are also the distributors. The printing might be higher priced, but you can decide on discounts and there will not be any returns from book stores for unsold books, which can be costly. POD produces only after receiving orders.
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Distributors
Let’s assume your book sells like hot cakes and you would like to have it distributed to book stores. So, how to find a book distributor? And should you go with a big, national or a smaller distributor?
An advantage to small distributors (often specialized in certain genres) is that they often know their bookstores better than larger distributors. The orders tend to be smaller but more realistic. Returns with larger distributors to bookstore chains can be very high: 30% returns is expected, but it can be as high as 70%.
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Partner With a Medium-sized Publisher
Another option is to make an arrangement with a medium-size publisher who already has a distribution deal and a sales team. For a percentage of the sale, they could include your book in their catalog, which goes out with the sales reps to book stores across the country, and their sales team will present your book. Some publishers may want all the attention for their own titles, but some may like the idea: there’s no printing cost for them, for instance. Their catalogs are produced 5-6 months in advance.
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Booksellers are Reluctant to Stock POD
Most booksellers will generally not stock Print-on-Demand books because they can’t return the book if it doesn’t sell and the percentage they get is lower. Printing one book at a time is more expensive per book (usually twice as expensive) than publishing a few thousand. That’s why many self-published authors can’t get their books into the large chains. It’s all about non-returnability. Bookstores only order the blockbuster titles they know they can sell. Books-a-Million, one of the book store chains, for example states it does not allow POD books into it’s stores at all.

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Many large US Book Distributors won’t take you on before you have at least five to ten books in print.
 They might also want you to have a sales team who will present your books to booksellers, to show that you are willing to move those books. They also prefer a contract for a certain number of years. Another issue with full service distribution is that they take a minimum of 20% commission, but it will often be closer to 30% if you’re a small publisher. Check them out before signing with any book distributor. Talk to their customers (both publishers and bookstores) to verify they would be a recommendable company for you to work with.
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Selection of Book Distributors in the U.S.A.

Small Press United

Publishers Group West

Partner Publishers Group

National Book Network

Legato Publishers Group

Independent Publishers Group

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Be Aware of these Book Industry Distribution Arrangements

  • Discounts: Bookstores get ($8 when a $20 book sells) or in percent, a 40% discount from the distributor, big box stores often get 45%.
  • Returns: Bookstores can return books back for credit against future orders, on average, about 30% of their initial sales might be returned. Paperbacks are not “stripped” so they can be shipped out again when another bookstore orders them. However, distributors may charge for warehousing of returns.
  • Commission: Sales reps work on commission and only gets paid when books “sell through” (sold to the consumer). The distribution company also works on commission, which is one of the reasons they are so picky about taking on non-validated clients: if the books don’t sell through, they lose the money they have spent storing and shipping the books, their commission is usually 25-30% ($5-6 on a $20 book).

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Direct Sales via Your Website
There is an even more lucrative way to sell your print book and distribute it: through your own website. You keep 100% of your revenue, and you know exactly who bought your books. Valuable data that you can use for promotion of your next book releases. The only “work” you have, is to stuff envelopes and ship your books once or twice a week – or more if you sell a lot. Setting up a PayPal account and an ordering form on your website is pretty easy. Direct selling means that you can make almost three times the amount per book than you can make, compared to a sale through traditional bookstore distributors.
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Book Fairs
Comb the Internet and regional newspapers for Book Fairs. Rent a booth or share one with other writers and have fun to meet readers in person, sign your books, maybe even meet library buyers and book store owners – and keep 100% revenue. Authors could even band together and exhibit at national and international book fairs, such as New York, Edinburgh, Leipzig, Bologna or Frankfurt. If ten or more authors for example share the cost for exhibition, travel and accommodation, it seems to be visible.
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Consignment at Bookstores
Some local independent bookstores will take books on consignment. A 60% to you, 40% to them split might seem a bit unfair to the uninitiated, but it’s the standard in the book trade. If sales are really good, some bookstores will offer to buy your book or you offer it to them which saves on paperwork and hassle. In this case you might offer them 50% discount.
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e-Book Distribution through Kobo
Kobo has partnered with the American, as well as and British Booksellers Association. 3,000 book stores, including 1,000 independents, in the UK and Ireland will carry Kobo’s e-readers in the future and sell e-books directly to Kobo users.  Participating stores will receive a commission of every sale.
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Fazit:
Small publishers and author-publishers with at least 3 books might be better off with LightningSource / Ingram and CreateSpace combined – until their book sale numbers are into the several thousands – also due to the print on demand possibilities that both companies offer.

Lightning Source connects you with the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. In addition to distributing books through their parent company Ingram Books, they print to order, which means, your book is printed and ready for shipment in 12 hours or less. With over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries your titles will gain the maximum exposure.

Lightning Source / Ingram work  with over 28,000 publishers of all sizes around the world. They deliver digital, print, wholesale and distribution services through a single source, and makes it easy for you to reach more customers in more places.

CreateSpace has slightly lower print on demand fees and set up fees per book, but it doesn’t get you into Ingram worldwide distribution. They offer something, called the Expanded Distribution Channel: “the “potential” to distribute your book to a larger audience through more outlets including: retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers, and distributors.” Well “potential” which means actually nothing! If a bookstore is really willing to order a single book because a customers wants it, they will deliver…
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Whole Sale and Book Distribution in USA

  • BCH Fulfillment & Distribution – BCH is also a vendor for Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. BCH offers 24/7 telephone order taking, an on-line catalog, representation at major trade shows, and more.
  • Atlas Books - Distributes online, via wholesalers, and commissioned sales reps. AtlasBooks is the distribution and marketing arm of the BookMasters Group which represents small to mid-size publishers.
  • Midpoint Trade Books – works with small and medium size publishers. No catalogs, so they can take on new titles any time of the year.
  • National Book Network – Distributes for 85 publishers, they offer Print on Demand, starting at 20 books
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Book Whole Sale / Distribution in Canada:

  • North 49 – trade book wholesaler with an inventory of over 3000 bestselling books from more than 500 publishers from Canada, UK and USA
  • Librarybound – a wholesaler delivers Canadian books to libraries (fulfillment orders only, no warehousing)
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More resources:

Distributors and Wholesalers, compiled by IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association
https://www.ibpa-online.org/resources/distributor-wholesalers/#.UWlwW7VO-So

Create Space Vs Lightning Source
http://write2publish.blogspot.ca/2011/02/why-create-space-is-better-than.html

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How dealing with Lightning Source exactly works can be learned “by the book”, actually two books, written by Aaron Shepard: “Aiming at Amazon” and “POD for Profit: More on the NEW Business of Self Publishing”.

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,070 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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